MARGINALIZATION OF POLITICAL ISSUES CANNOT BE ALLOWED
The attention of the Armenian and international press has been focused on the two-day visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov to Yerevan.
Prior to the visit, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the priority topic would be the implementation of the agreements on Nagorno Karabakh reached in November, 2020 and January, 2021 between the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan. This means that Moscow at this stage gives priority to humanitarian issues. Lavrov's meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Ara Ayvazyan was possible in the sense that a clear position was presented to the Russian side. That is, the Karabakh conflict is far from being settled. A comprehensive political settlement is possible only through peaceful negotiations. "The decision on the status of Artsakh should be based on the borders where the people of Artsakh have self-determined," Ayvazyan said. The emphases of the Russian Foreign Minister mainly referred to humanitarian issues: “If the roads are opened, the peoples will start to feel the benefits of peace, which will allow easing the tense situation, and then we can address the political issues.”If these issues are addressed now, it will simply hinder the unblocking of roads," Lavrov said. By saying political issues, he, in fact, meant the status of Artsakh, the return of the territories occupied by Azerbaijan. It turns out that Moscow has so far refrained from discussing political issues. Meanwhile, the status of Artsakh is a priority for us; therefore, it should be kept on the agenda and not pushed to the background.
The President of Azerbaijan has his own agenda. Under the guise of unblocking, he puts forward a demand that has nothing to do with the Tripartite Declaration. It is about the Zangezur corridor: “If Armenia does not agree, we will force it,” Aliev threatened. In this regard, the Russian Foreign Minister expressed his opinion, answering the non-accidental question voiced by "Panorama.am" at a joint press conference. According to him, the mechanism of trilateral cooperation envisages agreements, which imply nothing, but diplomatic agreement and decisions. Any questions that may be asked against these agreements of the three leaders, of course, cannot be accepted as an alternative to what has been agreed. The issue of return of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians held in Azerbaijan was also included in the agenda of bilateral discussions. The Armenian side raises the issue of about two hundred captives, while the Azerbaijani side, ignoring international pressure, announces the trial of the Armenian captives. At the ministerial meeting, Ayvazyan pointed to this as a key issue, saying that it should be resolved as soon as possible. “There is a lot of data on the continuing mass violations of international humanitarian law,” the RA Foreign Minister added. Ignoring international pressure, it announces the trial of Armenian captives.
The publication of "Kommersant" is of some interest on this topic. The people detained by Baku have become a subject of trade, the newspaper wrote, citing diplomatic sources. In exchange for the release of the captives, the Azerbaijani side is making territorial claims, in particular, trying to take control of the Shushi-Kamir Shuka road, which is now under the control of Russian peacekeepers and the Armenian military forces. Artsakh knows well the significance of this road; it is more than connecting Azerbaijan with Shushi. To rule on the way to Karmir Shuka means to rule the whole of Artsakh. This circumstance forces the leadership of the Artsakh Republic to simply exclude the concession.
Another noteworthy statement by the Russian Foreign Minister is of some interest. A very important document was signed in Yerevan - an intergovernmental memorandum on ensuring biological security. A reality that is not free from geopolitical context. The memorandum will allow specialists from the Russian Ministry of Health and Defense to visit Pentagon bio-laboratories working in Armenia. Moscow's efforts to bring Azerbaijan closer to the integration unions in the post-Soviet space are also pursuing a geopolitical goal. There is no news about this yet. Let's follow the forthcoming visit of the Russian Foreign Minister to Azerbaijan.